It’s a term that gets bandied about in all forums and discussions throughout many different advertising circles. The words ”Brand Marketing” seem to show up everywhere. But what it means for your business, and how to keep your brand recognizable, is sometimes difficult to pinpoint. Because marketing consistency is what good branding is all about, today we want to delve a little deeper. So get a better read on this often-misunderstood and crucial tenet of marketing. Your bottom line will thank you, as will your pocketbook.
Now don’t go to sleep on me! This is not your watch-the-clock high school history lesson. It’s actually fascinating to consider how we all got here. How did the world of advertising evolve over the years? Proof of branding was first chronicled by the ancient Egyptians, who branded their livestock as a way to show possession. Seems like a good idea, especially for wandering equity. A customized, unique mark showed any passerby or other owners precisely who owned what. Also, this ensured no one would be able to lure away and steal goods from anyone else. Similarly, this philosophy applies today through copyrights and trademarks.
Think about your favorite brand of sneakers, toothpaste, or paper towels. There is brand marketing so powerful that it has managed to rename entire categories (BandAid, anyone?). Of course, there are truckloads of articles that discuss what makes up a brand and what does not. Perhaps, advertising guru David Ogilvy summed it up best when he said, “Every advertisement should be thought of as a contribution to the complex symbol, which is the brand image.” Intangible ideas will ignite emotions and familiarity. It’s precisely what brings loyal customers who know what they are buying when they choose you.
A prime example of how to connect with customers personally is Crocs Footwear. Crocs’ durable, easy-to-wash, go anywhere shoes are easily duplicated. Thus, many lower-end manufacturers have done just that! However, that red amphibian logo always spoke to the customer. Given that their core value of high quality is the fabric of their business, Crocs product fans feel good about their purchase. This connection to the highest common denominator creates loyalty and huge brand value. Ultimately, sales drive goes way up, and the business flourishes.
Consumers are people. People have no issue with sameness. Even more so, customers prefer consistency. Loyalty equals knowing what to expect. Almost all of us plan our day, our activities, even our lives, around our expectations as consumers. We make decisions relying on the information we receive. Competition is fierce. Marketers hold a unique responsibility. While creating strategies, they must ensure communications and marketing campaigns all uphold the brand. Some of the ways this consistency impacts the business include:
While so much is pulling at our target’s attention, getting your audience to focus is becoming harder than ever. How can you break through the clutter of applications and devices that are vying for their purchase? How does brand awareness get built? Right at the first hello. Whether the campaign is through in-feed ads and videos, or rewards programs inside mobile games, the same truth applies. Only the most engaging and relevant campaigns will grab them at the get-go.
Inconsistent branding is a sure way to lose your customers’ trust. When it comes to brand, details matter. Different logos on your business cards and the website can be confusing for customers. How will they know it’s you? First, they need to trust that the site is yours. Second, if these simple things are not consistent, what else about your company is all over the place? Perhaps it’s service? A potential client might not want to take a chance.
No one sets out for the pinnacle of their business dreams with the bar set at mediocre. We aim to be at the top of our industry. We want to be the trusted authority and invest heavily in our company’s reputation. Your brand exudes that authority. Another branding success example is breakfast king Dunkin’ Donuts. When it comes to treats served with coffee, they are considered an industry authority. From seasonal changes and expansions to the menu, detailed recipes follow at each location. Anywhere in the world a Dunkin’ Donuts exists, the decor, mood, and product are the same.
Of course, brand consistency is about much more than attaching the same logo to your marketing materials. The company attitude, tone, and message must run in the same lane. You’re a straight-laced, serious financial loan facilitator? Everything that your company sends out, from emails to blogs, should scream; “We Are All Business!” If you were to send out a primary color-infused, balloon laden notice about a corporate event, I would immediately know it’s not from you. Every message matters.
A recognizable image is key to building a brand. The Nike swoosh is a great example of an iconic image. Consequently, even the name of the image follows what the fitness company projects. This consistency helps customers recognize your logo and colors immediately, which is vital in an increasingly crowded market.
Brands must evolve to stay relevant. But, though keeping current, you shouldn’t shake things up completely. Every post, print ad, and video is an opportunity to relate. Seriously examine all your messaging across the board. Does it all follow a similar vibe? Also, is this the tone that you intend to represent you?
Vague is just “meh.” Target an audience with specifics. First, how will I know your product is good for me if you don’t say so? In today’s environment of 24/7 connectivity, consumers choose from those who speak directly to them. Lose the broad generalizations. It does not cast a wider net to be all things to all people. Next, get to know your audience. Relevancy makes all the difference between a campaign that is a success, or one where emails are never opened, and carts don’t fill.
Your brand is the heart of your business. Think about how many emails leave your organization each day. What better place to begin pushing brand consistency than with each of those messages—right in the email signature?